Staff Profile
Emmett Duffy Photo


Emmett Duffy is Director of the Smithsonian’s Tennenbaum Marine Observatories Network, which coordinates the developing MarineGEO program. MarineGEO is building a worldwide partnership to administer an annual health exam for coastal marine life: documenting how and why coastal sea life is changing, and how that change affects resilience of the marine ecosystems humans depend on. The research focuses on biological diversity as the heart of healthy marine ecosystems and how they respond together to global change. Duffy is a marine biologist who has worked in seagrass and coral reef ecosystems around the world. He has contributed to scientific syntheses linking biodiversity to ecosystem health, the US National Climate Assessment, and visioning for development of an international Marine Biodiversity Observation Network. He was awarded an Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellowship in 2006, Japan’s inaugural Kobe Prize in Marine Biology in 2011, and a Virginia Outstanding Faculty award in 2013. Duffy came to the Smithsonian in 2013 after 19 years at the College of William and Mary’s Virginia Institute of Marine Science. 

Publications (Google Scholar)


  • Hovel, Kevin A., Duffy, J. Emmett, Stachowicz, John J., Reynolds, Pamela, Boström, Christoffer, Boyer, Katherine, Cimon, Stéphanie, Cusson, Mathieu, Fodrie, Fredrick J., Gagnon, Karine, Hereu, Clara M., Hori, Masakazu, Jorgensen, Pablo, Kruschel, Claudia, Lee, Kun‐Seop, Nakaoka, Masahiro, O'Connor, Nessa E., Rossi, Francesca, Ruesink, Jennifer, Tomas, Fiona and Ziegler, Shelby. (2021). Joint effects of patch edges and habitat degradation on faunal predation risk in a widespread marine foundation species . Ecology, , Article e03316.
  • Janiak, Dean S., Freeman, Christopher J., Seemann, Janina, Campbell, Justin E., Paul, Valerie J. and Duffy, J. Emmett. (2020). Spatial variation in the effects of predator exclusion on epifaunal community development in seagrass beds . Marine Ecology Progress Series, 649 , 21-33.
  • Whalen, Matthew A., Whippo, Ross D. B., Stachowicz, John J., York, Paul H., Aiello, Erin, Alcoverro, Teresa, Altieri, Andrew H., Benedetti-Cecchi, Lisandro, Bertolini, Camilla, Bresch, Midoli, Bulleri, Fabio, Carnell, Paul E., Cimon, Stéphanie, Connolly, Rod M., Cusson, Mathieu, Diskin, Meredith S., D'Souza, Elrika, Flores, Augusto A. V., Fodrie, F. J., Galloway, Aaron W. E., Gaskins, Leo C., Graham, Olivia J., Hanley, Torrance C., Henderson, Christopher J., Hereu, Clara M., et al. (2020). Climate drives the geography of marine consumption by changing predator communities . Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United State of America, 117 (45) , 28160-28166.
  • Bax, Nicholas J., Miloslavich, Patricia, Muller-Karger, Frank Edgar, Allain, Valerie, Appeltans, Ward, Batten, Sonia Dawn, Benedetti-Cecchi, Lisandro, Buttigieg, Pier Luigi, Chiba, Sanae, Costa, Daniel Paul, Duffy, J. Emmett, Dunn, Daniel C., Johnson, Craig Richard, Kudela, Raphael M., Obura, David, Rebelo, Lisa-Maria, Shin, Yunne-Jai, Simmons, Samantha Elisabeth and Tyack, Peter Lloyd. (2019). A Response to Scientific and Societal Needs for Marine Biological Observations . Frontiers in Marine Science, 6 , 395.
  • Brandl, Simon J., Rasher, Douglas B., Cote, Isabelle M., Casey, Jordan M., Darling, Emily S., Lefcheck, Jonathan S. and Duffy, J. Emmett. (2019). Coral reef ecosystem functioning: eight core processes and the role of biodiversity. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 17 (8) , 445-454.
  • Duffy, J. Emmett. (2019). Reefs need richness . Nature Ecology & Evolution, 3 (2) , 149-150.
  • Duffy, J. Emmett, Benedetti-Cecchi, Lisandro, Trinanes, Joaquin, Muller-Karger, Frank E., Ambo-Rappe, Rohani, Bostrom, Christoffer, Buschmann, Alejandro H., Byrnes, Jarrett, Coles, Robert G., Creed, Joel, Cullen-Unsworth, Leanne C., Diaz-Pulido, Guillermo, Duarte, Carlos M., Edgar, Graham J., Fortes, Miguel, Goni, Gustavo, Hu, Chuanmin, Huang, Xiaoping, Hurd, Catriona L., Johnson, Craig, Konar, Brenda, Krause-Jensen, Dorte, Krumhansl, Kira, Macreadie, Peter, Marsh, Helene, et al. (2019). Toward a Coordinated Global Observing System for Seagrasses and Marine Macroalgae. Frontiers in Marine Science, 6 , UNSP 317-UNSP 317.
  • Campbell, Justin E., Altieri, Andrew H., Johnston, Lane N., Kuempel, Caitlin D., Paperno, Richard, Paul, Valerie J. and Duffy, J. Emmett. (2018). Herbivore community determines the magnitude and mechanism of nutrient effects on subtropical and tropical seagrasses. Journal of Ecology, 106 (1) , 401-412.
  • Miloslavich, Patricia, Bax, Nicholas J., Simmons, Samantha E., Klein, Eduardo, Appeltans, Ward, Aburto-Oropeza, Octavio, Andersen Garcia, Melissa, Batten, Sonia D., Benedetti-Cecchi, Lisandro, Checkley, David M., Chiba, Sanae, Duffy, J. E., Dunn, Daniel C., Fischer, Albert, Gunn, John, Kudela, Raphael, Marsac, Francis, Muller-Karger, Frank, Obura, David and Shin, Yunne-Jai. (2018). Essential ocean variables for global sustained observations of biodiversity and ecosystem changes. Global Change Biology, 24 (6) , 2416-2433.
  • Muller-Karger, Frank E., Miloslavich, Patricia, Bax, Nicholas J., Simmons, Samantha, Costello, Mark J., Pinto, Isabel Sousa, Canonico, Gabrielle, Turner, Woody, Gill, Michael, Montes, Enrique, Best, Benjamin D., Pearlman, Jay, Halpin, Patrick, Dunn, Daniel, Benson, Abigail, Martin, Corinne S., Weatherdon, Lauren V., Appeltans, Ward, Provoost, Pieter, Klein, Eduardo, Kelble, Christopher R., Miller, Robert J., Chavez, Francisco P., Iken, Katrin, Chiba, Sanae, et al. (2018). Advancing Marine Biological Observations and Data Requirements of the Complementary Essential Ocean Variables (EOVs) and Essential Biodiversity Variables (EBVs) Frameworks. Frontiers in Marine Science, 5 , UNSP 211-UNSP 211.
  • Reynolds, Pamela L., Stachowicz, John J., Hovel, Kevin, Boström, Christoffer, Boyer, Katharyn, Cusson, Mathieu, Eklöf, Johan S., Engel, Friederike G., Engelen, Aschwin H., Eriksson, Britas Klemens, Fodrie, F. J., Griffin, John N., Hereu, Clara, Hori, Masakazu, Hanley, Torrance, Ivanov, Mikhail, Jorgensen, Pablo, Kruschel, Claudia, Lee, Kun-Seop, McGlathery, Karen, Moksnes, Per Olav, Nakaoka, Masahiro, O'Connor, Mary I., O'Connor, Nessa, Orth, Robert J., et al. (2018). Latitude, temperature and habitat complexity predict predation pressure in eelgrass beds across the Northern Hemisphere. Ecology, 99 (1) , 29-35.
  • Röhr, Maria Emilia, Holmer, Marianne, Baum, Julia K., Björk, Mats, Chin, Diana, Chalifour, Lia, Cimon, Stephanie, Cusson, Mathieu, Dahl, Martin, Deyanova, Diana, Duffy, J. E., Eklöf, Johan S., Geyer, Julie K., Griffin, John N., Gullström, Martin, Hereu, Clara M., Hori, Masakazu, Hovel, Kevin A., Hughes, A. R., Jorgensen, Pablo, Kiriakopolos, Stephanie, Moksnes, Per-Olav, Nakaoka, Masahiro, O'Connor, Mary I., Peterson, Bradley, et al. (2018). Blue carbon storage capacity of temperate eelgrass (Zostera marina) meadows . Global Biogeochemical Cycles, 32 (10) , 1457-1475.
  • Ruesink, Jennifer L., Stachowicz, John J., Reynolds, Pamela L., Boström, Christoffer, Cusson, Mathieu, Douglass, James, Eklöf, Johan, Engelen, Aschwin H., Hori, Masakazu, Hovel, Kevin, Iken, Katrin, Moksnes, Per-Olav, Nakaoka, Masahiro, O'Connor, Mary I., Olsen, Jeanine L., Sotka, Erik E., Whalen, Matthew A. and Duffy, J. E. (2018). Form-function relationships in a marine foundation species depend on scale: a shoot to global perspective from a distributed ecological experiment. Oikos, 127 (3) , 364-374.
  • Brandl, Simon J., Casey, Jordan M., Knowlton, Nancy and Duffy, James Emmett. (2017). Marine dock pilings foster diverse, native cryptobenthic fish assemblages across bioregions. Ecology and Evolution, 7 (17) , 7069-7079.
  • Chak, Solomon Tin Chi, Duffy, James Emmett, Hultgren, Kristin M. and Rubenstein, Dustin R. (2017). Evolutionary transitions towards eusociality in snapping shrimps. Nature Ecology & Evolution, 1 , 0096.